John’s Mountain Vista Farm Story
“I was the guy who was going to burn up and go down in a blaze of glory. “
Before I came to Mountain Vista Farm I was living on alcohol, speed, and drugs, and cigarettes. I wasn’t eating. I weighed about 140 pounds: about 40 pounds less than I weigh now. I’d lost a union ironworker job I’d had for 18 years. My wife had left. She had restraining orders against me. I couldn’t see my daughter who was four at the time. She turned five while I was there. The electricity had been turned off in my house because it hadn’t been paid. The rent hadn’t been paid. I just got out of Santa Rita and I had no intention of getting sober.
I was gonna go down in a ball of flames. I had every intention of doing that. But what happened was my family showed up for an intervention. Long before the show “Intervention” was on TV: they just showed up at my doorstep one day.
My dad has about 30 years of recovery behind him. When they showed up I somehow knew what they were there to do. They sat down and all read their letters. My brother was reading a letter to me. He’s 11 months younger than I am and he just stopped reading and said, “I miss my brother. I want him back.”
The intervention specialist looked over at that moment and said, “Will you get help?”
What I meant to say was, “No. Get out of my house.” But what I actually said was, “Yes.”
I felt my shoulders drop at that moment. I remember thinking at that time, “Oh good it’s over, I don’t have to do this anymore.” But I had no intention of getting sober. It wasn’t on the top 100 list of things to do that day. I had really important things to do: like pawning stuff and ripping people off, then getting drunk and using. Coming to a treatment center and asking for help never even occurred to me.
The idea that drinking and drugs might be a problem was never my idea. I thought rehab was for losers. I remember walking up the path right here and thinking, “God, look at all these losers.” I remember not really being in touch with reality.
My life had just completely exploded. I was a student body president. I played college football. And yet the drugs and the alcohol took me to rehab. Really, rehab?
But when I walked up here: I don’t know. Something changed. There were people here who had walked the path that I’d been on. There were people who knew when to steer a little bit clear and give me some space. Their timing just seemed impeccable.
The first thing I was told when I got here was: “Go into this room and sleep for a couple of days, and don’t worry about anything else.” And that’s what I did. Then they said, “This guy’s your roommate. Just follow him around until you get comfortable.”
They slowly just let me know that whatever I needed was here for me. Some of the rough edges kind of got polished a little while I was here. I couldn’t say enough about this place, Mountain Vista Farm. It saved my life. It changed my life. I would say to anybody that is hesitant about it: go ahead and walk up that path. Go ahead and put your feet in the water. Try it: there’s hope.
This place changed my life: and I really believed when I got here that it couldn’t.
I thought, ”This might work for everybody else up there, but it’s not going to work for me.” But it did.
My life doesn’t look anything like what I thought it was going to look like; and yet it’s better than I ever thought it could be. I was the guy who was going to burn up and go down in a blaze of glory. But my life has turned into getting remarried to to an absolutely wonderful woman, and being a stepfather to her two kids, and a father to my daughter, a brother, and a son.
It’s been amazing. It’s been a miracle, really.